Best 12 Books That Every Geeky Parent Should Share With Their Kids

Atticus FinchThere’s nothing like sharing the magic of a classic book with your kid. Here’s our list of the 12 best books you should read with your little Geek.

School’s in session by now for most kids around the country. This means parents get to clean grass stains off denim knees, hear nothing more than “stuff” when asking their kids what they did in school that day, and take a stroll down memory lane when glancing over their kids’ reading list.

A lot of the novels and story collections on those lists are fantastic. Some are beyond fantastic. And yet others are mind-blowingly fantastic.

But it’s a big world out there, full of books without number. Do your kid a favor (and yourself, if you read along!) by supplementing her or his required reading list with a few of the suggestions below.

You’ve probably read most of them already, so you know how magical they are. And magic is best used when you’re teaching someone else how to recognize and wield it on their own.

If you get your kid started on this list, I promise that they’ll grow up to be just as voracious a reader as you are. Guaranteed.

Top 12 Amazing Books to Read With Your Kid

12. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman & Eric Beddows

Joyful NoiseThis Newberry Award-winning book, written by Fleischman and illustrated by Beddows, features a collection of fourteen poems that pay tribute to the wonderful world of insects.

But it’s more than just a book of poems. Joyful Noise was written in a unique style that makes it the perfect choice for a book you can read with your kids at home. The poems were made to be read aloud by two people. Some lines are read simultaneously, while others are done solo, but they’re definitely intended to be duets.

Great poems, great pictures, and a great way to enjoy reading with your kids: Joyful Noise is just plain terrific.

Crave it? GET IT!

11. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Fourth Grade NothingLike most of the books on this list, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing was my absolute favorite book in the world when I first read it. Also like the others on this list, the lessons it has to impart on the importance of family and forgiveness are so very important for everyone to learn.

Tales is the first of the Fudge Series by Judy Blume, which was followed by more of my at-the-time all-time-favorite reads: Superfudge, Fudge-a-Mania, and also Double Fudge, which was published relatively recently in 2002. The books follow the adventures of Peter and his annoying little brother Fudge.

With this book, Blume proves once again that she’s the master of hiding really poignant observances within absurdly funny scenarios.

Crave it? GET IT!

10. Holes by Louis Sachar

HolesOne of the more recent books on the list, Holes is the story of Stanley Yelnats (Get it? Get it? Good.), a young boy who finds himself stuck on what amounts to a prison work camp, digging holes in the bottom of a dried up lake with other imprisoned kids. He recalls the story of his ancestor, which leads him and his friends on an adventure to escape the tyranny of Camp Green Lake’s regime and uncover a lost treasure.

Holes won a National Book Award as well as the Newberry Award, but you don’t need the fancy tin to tell you this is a worthwhile read. I can tell you right now: it is.

It’s also one of those books that will cause your kids to simply disappear while reading it. Seriously, you hand it to them, they’ll crack it open, and they won’t reemerge until the last word on the last page has been thoroughly absorbed.

Crave it? GET IT!

9. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

HatchetHatchet is a tale of survival. It centers on 13-year-old Brian Robeson who’s going to visit his father by plane one summer. Mid-flight, the pilot has a heart attack and despite his best efforts to land the plane, Brian crashes in the wilderness, where he must learn to feed himself, shelter himself, and keep himself alive until he can be rescued.

This book has so many insightful lessons to teach your young’ns about self-reliance, self-respect, self-discipline, and staying calm and logical in the face of fear and utter insanity

And it’s a flippin’ great read!

Survival fiction has come in vogue over the past few years–mostly in the form of kids having to kill each other, unfortunately…–so this is the perfect opportunity for Hatchet, written in 1987, to make a comeback. And you know what? It certainly deserves one.

Crave it? GET IT!

8. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Lion Witch WardrobeOne of the all-time great fantasy and adventure stories, this first installment of the Chronicles of Narnia finds three children, refugees from World War II atrocities in London, making their way to a secret world hidden behind the back wall of a wardrobe.

I hardly think I need to say any more about the plot–we all have a good idea where it goes. But I will say that aside from the exciting action sequences, this book has a lot to offer in the way of philosophy and the nature of family.

We probably also all know by now that the book was probably written as a sort of Christian allegory, depicting the themes and even plot devices of the Bible in a more modern setting. Okay, sure, but no matter what your religion is, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is a book that will teach you to be a better human being.

And it has witches.

And a talking lion.

And loads of treacle. (Whatever that is.)

Crave it? GET IT!

7. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume

Are You There GodWAIT! Seriously, don’t laugh. I’m not kidding. This is a really great book for your kids to read, whether they’re boys or girls.

True, it may be difficult to pump up your masculine little man to read a book that has essentially become synonymous with menstruation education, but it’s a totally worthwhile read for him. I promise. It will teach him many things about girls, and even about himself, that he might not get elsewhere. This is Judy Blume, after all, She Who Layers Her Lessons Thicker Than Maple Syrup.

And if your kid is a little lady, all the better. Really instructional, really emotional, and really amazing, even after all these years.

Crave it? GET IT!

6. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Sidewalk EndsYou know what’s really sad to me? How often poetry gets tossed by the wayside in our modern world. Yeah, okay, we read like three sonnets in high school and maybe another three in college. We all know that in some woods somewhere, there are two roads that diverge. And we certainly know that roses are red and violets are blue. But beyond that? Can you name four poets who are alive and working today?

It’s sad because poetry is such a vivid, emotional, colorful, visceral, spiritually charged art form and it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. So, introduce your child to this AMAZING collection of really funny (and surprisingly poignant) poems by Shel Silverstein. And then maybe a snowball will start rolling down the mountain and your kid can keep poetry alive by becoming one of its dwindling number of ardent advocates.

Well, I can hope, can’t I?

Crave it? GET IT!

5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate FactorySometimes you don’t need to learn a life lesson. Sometimes you just need to be entertained. This classic Dahl book is a wacky, madcap adventure that’s just about as fun as a book can possibly be. And it’s funnier than you remember it. Trust me. Reread some of Wonka’s dialogue and you’ll be blown away by how hilarious it still is.

Oh, but wait. You thought you were just having a good time reading this, didn’t you? You were just laughing and smiling your way through this crazy tale of misadventure, huh?

But then BAM, there’s a lesson after all. Honesty and bravery are what define Charlie in the end, allowing him to earn his place at the helm of the very chocolate factory though which he was just given a tour. And now your kids will see that if they’re honest brave, too, they’ll be given a chocolate factory as a reward, as well.

Or, you know, something like that. Maybe just a candy bar…

Crave it? GET IT!

4. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Charlottes WebThis is a classic story of a talking pig, a talking rat, a talking spider, and a friendship whose end could make a robot cry.

E.B. White, being the co-writer of The Elements of Style, knows a thing or two about the written word. Like how to put them together in such a way to make magic on a blank page.

Your kid will read this book, love this book, and surely pass it on to their kids at the first opportunity.

Some pig? Some story.

Crave it? GET IT!

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry

The GiverIf survival fiction is in vogue, dystopia fiction is on fire. The number of books out there that feature desecrated society masquerading as a veritable garden of Eden are beyond counting. And while many of them are quite good, perhaps none is as wonderful as The Giver.

This is the story of Jonas and his place in a world where individuality and emotional independence are not things to be celebrated. I think the lessons we take from this book are now quit obvious, based on that last sentence.

This is an amazing read that has gone up against plenty of scrutiny and controversy because of its adult nature, but I’m a firm believer that the themes presented in this book are well aimed. If you kid doesn’t get it now, she will later. If she gets it now, then now is the right time to get it.

Crave it? GET IT!

2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in TimeWell before Loki and the Avengers tussled over their blue tesseract, A Wrinkle in Time‘s kid protagonist, Meg Murray, had her chance to embrace its power. Don’t worry, I’m well aware that the two tesseracts have absolutely nothing in common… But it’s a great way to hook your kids!

Madeleine L’Engle is the author of a great many fantasy and sci-fi novels for young people, many of them falling within this very series. She obviously writes from the heart, since her characters are so true to life and beloved even in their bad moments.

And certainly, there are lessons here aplenty. Family, friendship, love, perseverance, courage–all these things are virtues L’Engle touts, and virtues your kids will come to understand as worthwhile goals.

Crave it? GET IT!

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a MockingbirdPerhaps one of the greatest novels of all time.

There is no reason, at all, that your child SHOULDN’T read this book.

To Kill a Mockingbird is the only book written by Harper Lee and it remains one of everyone’s favorite classic stories in the history of literature. The characters are vivid, the plot is believable, the danger is real, and the setting… Oh, man, the setting is so well described that you may well feel the warm Southern breeze of Maycomb, Alabama rustle the hair at the back of your neck as you turn the pages.

And talk about a compulsively readable books with life lessons. The lessons in here are the ones, when learned, create courageous human beings with the power to make the world a better place.

Crave it? GET IT!

OBVIOUS BONUS: Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Harry PotterChances are, if your child knows how to read, they’ve already consumed Rowling’s seven Harry Potter books. Even if they’ve only read a single book of their choosing in their entire lives, they’ve probably read one of the volumes in this epic tale of an unlikely hero and his magical destiny.

On the off chance that they haven’t, though… They really are fantastic books. If you or your kids have only seen the films, don’t you dare think that’s a worthwhile excuse to skip out on the written-word version.

Rowling is a master of characterization and a winding, complex plot that’s more unstoppable (or is that less stoppable?) then a bullet train being pushed along by Superman, The Flash, and Iron Man. (What? They’ve crossed paths before…)

And are there lessons to be learned throughout the series? You bet your sweet patootie there are. Harry learns about friendship, family, sacrifice, the vast divide between good intentions and good work, and that there are things in this world worth fighting for. And even worth dying for.

It’s also just a phenomenally fun read!

Crave it? GET IT!

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS BONUS: Whatever Your Kid Wants

Don’t let your kids get bogged down by required reading. If they show no enthusiasm for this list, by all means, let them pick their own reads!

More than likely, they’ll eventually come back to these books on their own. But the point is that they’re reading. Period. And reading, whether it be fiction or non, is one of the most important ways in which your kids will learn to understand the world around them. And understand themselves.

As corny as it sounds, it’s also unimpeachably true: READING is POWER.

You can’t force a child to wield any power. But you can show them that it’s worth claiming for their own.

What books would you add to the list? Obviously there are hundreds out there worthy of being read. Let’s continue the list in the comments below!

Oh, and THIS is treacle. In case you wondered.

Treacle

Mmmmm… Warm Treacle Tart… Yummy….

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About Peter Diseth

Geek-tician and Sci-Fi-nancier, Peter has been honing his research for Geeks Raising Geeks for better than three decades. He makes a living creating web content for individuals and businesses, both local and international. He's also a veteran actor of stage and screen, and doing this makes "making a living" worthwhile. Peter is also the sole creator of NewsAttire.com (a satirical news blog in the vein of The Onion) and a once-contributor to WhatCulture.

Peter lives in New Mexico with the three loves of his life: his wife Kate, his kitty Kitty, and his vast library of well-loved and well-worn genre fiction.

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Comments

  1. I loved Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking when I was a kid, and have every intention of introducing her to my own kid(s?) when they’re old enough. She’s powerful, funny, fiercly independent and has a good heart. And a horse living in her house. How could anyone not love that?

  2. What? No mention of the Hobbit? My grade 5 teacher read that to us in spurts throughout the year. I think he would just pull it out when he needed us to just clam up. We were allowed to do anything we wanted, as long as we weren’t interrupting. (Most of us would colour, or fold the tear-off edges of the old computer paper into long chains. Seems a bit absurd now to think back on it!)

    Another one I put forth is Garth Nix’s Sabriel (and the following two in the trilogy, but the first is an amazing read.) I read it (along with a few others on your list here) in my course on young adult literacy. I was so blown away by the entire world that I have trouble reading some of my ‘true’ adult fantasy novels because they pale in comparison.

  3. THE GIVER.
    Ever since reading it in 5th grade, that book has stuck with me for life. It will definitely be something that I pass down to my son.

  4. Love the list, but I have to point out an error… The Magician’s Nephew is the first book in the Chrinicles of Narnia series. I know, it’s often overlooked, but it’s a great read, and deserves a mention.

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